It’s time for some truth-sharing. Come on in.
The header picture of our blog is an important one for me because it represents a real turning point in my life.
Here’s the story.
It was our first time having family pictures taken, so it was a big deal to me. Of course, I wanted them to be perfect. I admit, I am a perfectionist. I don’t expect it from others, but in my own life I have this idea in my head of how everything should be, and it’s a suffocating kind of thing.
So, we found the perfect photographers – The Mondays, more about these wonderful people to come – and scheduled our outdoor photo shoot for a day in June.
I spent too much time finding the right outfits that matched, but weren’t too matchy.
I spent too much time imagining the perfect family portrait hanging on the wall in our living room.
When the day came, I spent too much time straightening my unruly hair and getting my make-up just right.
I spent too much time on all the wrong things.
We met Levi & Allie at the photo site, a lovely green field with trees lining the perimeter. It was an ideal setting for the ideal family portrait. The humidity was heavy, however, so my previously straightened hair was beginning to rebel, and I was beginning to stress about it, of course. Levi & Allie spent some time following the kids around, giving them space and time to be kids, trying to capture them in truth. I was tense the whole time, worrying about whether or not they captured the perfect smile, the perfect look, the perfect all together pose. We got in a couple of whole family pictures like this one…
…and then the rains came. I couldn’t believe it. All of that stress, and it seemed the day was ruined. We grabbed our things and ran for the car.
Levi & Allie followed us back to our house so we could take a moment to decide how to proceed. The rain proved itself a summer tease…lingering just long enough to redirect our course. Should we reschedule the session for another date, a who-knows-when date, or continue today, wet and wrinkled? Sigh. I knew we needed to go for it.
So, the kids changed into their favorite outfits. Non-matching, whatever they wanted outfits. I surrendered to the reality of messy hair, and we traipsed into our toys-are-everywhere-when’s-the-last-time-the-grass-was-cut backyard.
And it was simply perfect.
It was honest and it was fun and it was perfect. Levi & Allie gave us space to play and live our normal life moments. Moments like these…
I was so enjoying each moment that I forgot to stress.
We weren’t posing for a photo session. We were being ourselves.
Swinging and chasing each other and riding in the tractor, with grass on our toes and static in our hair.
Wet and rumpled and not matching.
A genuine, happy mess.
The rain that day was a cleansing flood. It divided me into the two parts of myself. The “pose and smile and pretend I’m perfect for the world” and the “oh heck, come on in to my mess because this is who I really am”. It was a changing thing. And when we received our photos from Levi & Allie, I finally saw the beauty in my imperfections. I loved the after rain pictures so much more than the ones before.
And I fell deeply in love with our rumpled little reality.
And so, a note about The Mondays. I hope you have the opportunity in your life to meet two people as genuine and lovely as Levi & Allie. There is such magic in photography, and they know it true and deep. They see the artistry of every day life…of tall grass and unruly hair and toys all over. They capture beauty, and they hand it to you. A treasure.
I should also mention that my children loved every moment of this photo shoot. There was no “sit right here, look at the camera, put that down, smile!” There was simply “be you because it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Maeve even asked if she could do a photo shoot with Levi & Allie for her birthday.
In my case, a picture was worth so much more than a thousand words. It was worth CHANGE. And I am thankful for it.
For these captured moments that I can hold on to when I am rushed and tired and falling apart.
When my children are arguing and crying and I’m yelling.
When the laundry is piled on the couch and the floor under the table is covered in crumbs.
When bedtime takes an hour and a half and I just want to sit. down.
How is it even possible that I missed it before? This is one beautiful life.